Fibromyalgia is the second most common condition affecting your bones and muscles. Yet it’s often misdiagnosed and misunderstood.
A combination of medication, exercise, managing your stress, and healthy habits may ease your symptoms enough that you can live a normal and an active life.
Some of the doctors think that it’s a problem with how your brain and spinal cord process pain signals from your nerves.
You’re more likely to get it if:
- You’re a woman.
- You have another painful disease, such as arthritis, or an infection.
- You have a mood disorder, like anxiety or depression.
- Other family members have it.
Research has found that people with Fibromyalgia have abnormally low levels of the hormones serotonin, Noradrenaline and dopamine in their brains.
These all are important in regulating things such as:
- Response to stressful situations
These hormones also play a role in processing pain messages sent by the nerves.
Fibromyalgia can prevent you from sleeping deeply and extreme tiredness. People with the condition who sleep badly can also have higher levels of pain.
2. Wide Spread Pain
Wide Spread Pain may be felt throughout your body, but could be worse in particular areas, such as your back or neck.The pain is likely to be continuous, although it may be better or more severe at different times.
The pain could feel like:
- an ache
- a burning sensation
- a sharp, stabbing pain
3. Extreme Sensitivity
Fibromyalgia can make you extremely sensitive to pain all over your body, and you may find that even the slightest touch is painful.If you hurt yourself – such as stubbing your toe – the pain may continue for much longer than it normally would. You become sensitive to things such as smoke, certain foods and bright lights.
Fibromyalgia can make you feel stiff. The stiffness may be most severe when you’ve been in the same position for a long period of time – for example, when you first wake up in the morning.
Fibromyalgia can cause fatigue (extreme tiredness). This can range from a mild tired feeling to the exhaustion often experienced during a flu-like illness.Severe fatigue may come on suddenly and can drain you of all your energy.
6. Cognitive problems
If you have fibromyalgia, you may have:
- trouble remembering and learning new things
- problems with attention and concentration
- slowed or confused speech
If fibromyalgia has caused you to experience pain and stiffness in your neck and shoulders, you may also have frequent headaches.
These can vary from being mild headaches to severe migraines, and could also involve other symptoms, such as nausea (feeling sick).
In some cases, having the condition can lead to depression. This is because fibromyalgia can be difficult to deal with, and low levels of certain hormones associated with the condition can make you prone to developing depression.
- constantly feeling low
- feeling hopeless and helpless
- losing interest in the things you usually enjoy
For Fibromyalgia to be diagnosed, certain criteria usually have to be met. The most widely used criteria for diagnosis are:
- You either have severe pain in three to six different areas of your body, or you have milder pain in seven or more different areas
- Your symptoms have stayed at a similar level for at least three months
- No other reason for your symptoms has been found
Diagnosing other conditions
It’s also possible to have other conditions alongside your Fibromyalgia such as:
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
If your symptoms suggest that you have another condition as well as Fibromyalgia, you may need further tests to diagnose these. Identifying all possible conditions will help to guide your treatment.
Treatment for Fibromyalgia tries to ease some of your symptoms and improve quality of life, but there’s currently no cure.
Fibromyalgia has numerous symptoms, meaning that no single treatment will work for all of them. Treatments that work for some people won’t necessarily work for others.
You may need to take several different types of medicines for fibromyalgia, including painkillers and antidepressants.
Simple painkillers available such as paracetamol can help relieve the pain in fibromyalgia.
Antidepressant medication can also help to relieve pain for some people with fibromyalgia.
But antidepressants can cause a number of side effects, including:
- feeling sick
- dry mouth
- weight gain